* Second World War and Czechoslovak antifascist movement from the public opinion viewpoint

This year sixty years have passed since the end of the Second World War and since the liberation of our country from German occupation. In connection with this anniversary, number of events, articles, television and radio programmes commemorated and discussed the war events, key military operations, antifascist movement, etc. How does the Czech public see this difficult period of history (which so significantly affected, apart from other things, the development of the second half of the 20th century in our country and elsewhere) six decades later? What do people know about it? The results of a survey executed by the Centre of Public Opinion Research (CVVM) of the Sociological Institute of the Academy of Sciences of the Czech Republic in November 2004 within a regular continuous survey, which included questions dealing with the Second World War and the Czechoslovak antifascist movement, can give us at least a partial answer.

 

The introductory question of the whole thematic block dedicated to the Second World War and the antifascist movement inquired whether people find it necessary to remember the events of the Second World War.

Approximately three quarters of the questioned found it necessary to remember the Second World War and the events of its course; 15 % expressed a contrary opinion. The need to maintain or support historical awareness of the biggest military conflict in our history remains very strong (at least on a declarative level) even sixty years after its end. In comparison with the April 2000 survey, when the same question appeared for the last time, the number of respondents who don’t find it necessary to remember the events of the Second World War slightly increased. The most recent results, however, don’t differ that much from the distribution of opinions from a survey carried out five years earlier in April.

Detailed analysis of the results showed that significant factors affecting perspective on the above-mentioned question are age, and to a lesser degree also respondents’ education. The need to remember the Second World War grows stronger with increasing age. Whereas in the group of the youngest respondents between 15 and 19 years of age the number of those who answered “Yes” was slightly over one half and the number of those who answered “No” reached over one quarter, among the respondents who have already reached the age of sixty, nine out of ten find it necessary to remember the Second World War. Total distribution of opinions according to age is recorded in Table 2. As far as education is concerned, respondents with university education find it more important to remember the events of the Second World War. From the viewpoint of political parties, KSČM and KDU-ČSL supporters more frequently stress the need to remember the Second World War. However, this is also affected by age, since both of these parties have above-average support among seniors.

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